Polk State Looks To Grow In Haines City

Polk State College has secured land for a new northeast Polk County facility in Haines City that may include a couple of multistory buildings.

The college spent $2.7 million for 7.8 acres off U.S. 27, south of Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center. It is within a medical complex being built by Civix, which sold and donated the land.

The college, which has campuses in Lakeland and Winter Haven, has been looking to expand into Haines City for a number of years. Polk State's first president, Fred Lenfestey, even had his eyes on that area, known as the four corners.

"We are pleased to take this important step toward establishing a center in Northeast Polk County that will serve the higher educational and workforce training needs in this dynamic area of the county," said Eileen Holden, president of Polk State College.
While the Lakeland and Winter Haven sites have 100 acres and classrooms in one- and two-story buildings, the Haines City property will likely have taller buildings because of its smaller footprint, the college said.

Other than location, the expansion site is also desirable because it has infrastructure in place, including roads, electricity and water and sewer lines. The college estimates this will save $3 million.

Construction awaits funding. Polk State earned $2.7 million in state Public Education Capital Outlay money for the northeast Polk facility. But that money was limited to a land purchase. The state has not given the college additional money for construction so far.

Still, Civix, the Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center and Polk economic development officials are excited about how the college and the medical development can help each other grow at that site. Civix plans several buildings that will house 50 medical practices and a diagnostic center.

Writer: Dave Szymanski

Source: Eileen Holden, Polk State College


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